Greyfriars had come to signify stagnation in Northampton: it was the worst of the old and its very removal is seen as a real sign of change. Its demolition endorses the arrival of the new Northgate Bus Interchange and Castle Railway Station. There is a genuine sense of anticipation at the possibilities it opens up for the town. Most importantly the new development must transform the town as a whole by creating a new sense of place and identity. The town now knows it has a Cultural Quarter and a Boot & Shoe Quarter but the introduction of a substantial new "place in the centre of the town must be more than just a new "scheme” that starts and stops at its boundaries.
In the meantime things are changing on the High Street: several of Chown Commercials clients have developed previously little used upper parts into lettable flats as a direct result of the Council’s grant scheme. This is bringing new people and families into the town centre and with them improved economic activity on a day to day basis. We have already attracted higher than expected rents on well refurbished town centre offices and where freeholds have been available in the town centre, which is a rare thing in itself, however, we have received strong interest and seen an increased appetite for development, albeit modest.
Chown Commercial’s newest town centre instruction is SOL Northampton (formerly Sol Centre). The trend over the last couple of years has seen the empty frontages disguised but we have started a conversation about improving the visibility of the property and early marketing is already bearing fruit. We anticipate changes very shortly in this part of town which, again, is in an area capable of significant improvement and activity following the demolition of Castle House next door and the development associated with the Station and The Cube. As the town’s premier Family Entertainment Centre, we are able to offer extremely favourable terms for a forward thinking bar/pub operator, restaurants and general leisure users across a range of sizes to support the Cinema and Laser Quest.
Whilst all this talk about seems to be introducing much needed new elements to the town we should not forget the continuity offered by the likes of Churches Shoes’ development of the St James Bus Station site. Chown Commercial is proud to act for several of the oldest, established shoe brands and their ongoing economic, cultural and heritage value to the town cannot be underestimated.